Change has never happened so rapidly as the changes we currently see in the credit union industry. Every day we hear of a new AI coming online; or new payment systems; marketing channels; competitors in the marketplace. How do credit unions adapt quickly? How do credit unions not only survive but thrive? As a movement, we need to look outside the box and reexamine our commonly held views on what our industry looks like to face future challenges. We need to ask tough questions. And we need to lean into our strength of collaboration. How do we start?
Shared services: Credit unions can collaborate with other credit unions to share certain services, such as back-office operations, IT infrastructure, or compliance functions. Pooling resources and expertise can lead to cost savings and operational efficiencies. We have recently seen CUSOs developed in Minnesota to provide commercial and business lending services and technology support.
Collaborative innovation: Creating innovation labs or incubators with system partners can foster a culture of creativity and idea-sharing. Together, credit unions can explore and test new ideas and processes to stay at the forefront of trends. In Minnesota, we have a Think Tank that is currently looking at the structure of credit unions and how we can better partner and collaborate to meet the changes ahead and stay relevant to member needs.
Strategic partnerships: Establishing strategic partnerships with other credit unions, fintech companies, or service providers can offer access to specialized expertise and technology. These collaborations can lead to the development of innovative products and services that meet evolving member needs.
Community outreach: Partnering with other credit unions and system partners for community service projects or philanthropic endeavors can strengthen the credit union’s community presence and awareness, along with demonstrating our shared commitment to our communities and credit union values. These initiatives and sharing the stories also support our state and national advocacy efforts that benefit the entire movement.
The credit union of the future is going to look different than what credit unions do currently. The evolution of the credit industry is how we will meet those challenges. As member-owned financial cooperatives, we have the advantage of being close to the pulse of members changing needs and can pivot quickly. By fostering collaboration among system partners, credit unions can combine their strengths, resources, and expertise to overcome challenges, seize opportunities, and deliver exceptional value to their members.
I am excited to be on the journey of partnering with credit unions and leagues across the country to find these answers. Credit unions can remain a viable and attractive option for their members by taking proactive steps to stay ahead of the curve.